When toxins build up in our brains over time, we might experience fatigue, brain fog, poor concentration and memory, moodiness, vertigo (dizziness), headaches, confusion, and even unhealthy cravings.
Environmental toxins come from many sources, including water, food, air, personal care and cleaning products, dental fillings and sealants, paint, synthetic fertilizers (Roundup), air pollution, cigarettes, plastic food and beverage containers, cash register receipts, and the list goes on.
Let’s talk about toxins in food that can damage the brain and increase the risk of memory problems and dementia.
Mercury is a heavy metal that accumulates in the fatty flesh of larger fish, such as grouper, King mackerel, albacore and bigeye tuna, orange roughy, marlin, swordfish, and tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico. When we eat mercury-contaminated fish, it can store in our fatty tissue. Our brain contains lots of fatty tissue.
Eat cilantro with your fish, which is known to help bind with mercury and remove it from the body. Also, eat plenty of fiber-rich plant foods with fish, or you won’t be removing anything!
Foods grown in conventional soil that has been treated with synthetic fertilizers may contain high amounts of cadmium, which is a highly toxic heavy metal. It can accumulate in the liver and kidneys, interfering with detoxification. Studies have associated high cadmium levels with osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Eat organic produce as often as possible.
Alert: Cigarettes contain high amounts of cadmium!
Pesticides (organochlorines and organophosphates) are neurotoxins and also promote weight gain, because toxins are stored in fat cells to protect our organs. In one study, people who were in the top 5% of exposure to DDT (organochlorine pesticide) had a 650% increased risk of developing dementia. Check the Dirty Dozen List at ewg.org to find which produce has the most pesticide residues.
Glyphosate is an herbicide found in Roundup weed killer, and its residues are found in genetically-modified crops (GMOs). Glyphosate has been shown to interfere with testosterone and estrogen balance and damage cells, increasing the risk for cancer. Avoid GMOs! Look for the “Non-GMO Verified Project” symbol on food and beverage packages. Learn which foods are commonly genetically modified by visiting www.nongmoproject.org.
Apples are usually on the Dirty Dozen List and are often sprayed with diphenylamine to make them shiny and slow discoloration. This chemical breaks down into nitrosamines, which are carcinogic and associated with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
So, what’s a person to do? A good place to start is by limiting exposure and supporting detoxification:
- Eat organic (especially those on the Dirty Dozen List) as often as possible. One study: Certain pesticide levels decreased in the urine of one family by 95% after two weeks of eating organic food. Another study: The levels of neurotoxic pesticides in children who ate conventionally-grown foods (non-organic) were nine times higher than in those who ate organic.
- Avoid genetically-modified foods. As much as 96% of US soy is genetically modified and contains high levels of arsenic and cadmium. Soy is in so many processed foods. Only buy organic whole soy products.
- Read and understand food and beverage labels, and avoid toxic ingredients. Download my free Label Reading Guidelines PDF to get 15 label-reading tips. Join my free 6-Day Label Reading Challenge starting next Monday, May 6, by joining my Learning to be Healthy with Lisa Private Facebook Group.
- Avoid processed meats that contain nitrates and nitrites. These nitrosamines encourage the liver to produce toxic fats.
- Eat enough fiber to help bind toxins in the colon and remove them from the body.
- Drink enough pure water (filtered with charcoal or reverse osmosis) to help the kidneys flush out toxins.
- Support your liver (major detoxification organ) by eating cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, etc.).
- Exercise to sweat and move your lymphatic system. Toxins are released in sweat, and more glutathione is made, which is a powerful detoxifying antioxidant. Sitting for prolonged periods is like a stagnant river.
- Register for the free online DIY Detox Summit!
- Ask God for wisdom, and learn to enjoy God’s food instead of man’s food!
Keep Learning to be Healthy!
Lisa Hernandez, Certified Nutritionist & Health Coach
1 Corinthians 10:31–“Whatever you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for God’s glory!”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. It does not take the place of any medical care that you may need. Consult your health care provider about making dietary and lifestyle changes that are right for you.